In Spring 2022, I organized a meeting with the California Central Coast Rangelands Coalition on grazing management and soil carbon sequestration at Paicines Ranch in California. I presented on the results of my dissertation research, organized quest speakers including Chelsea Carey from Point Blue Conservation Science and Jeanne Merrill from California Climate and Agriculture Network, and coordinated field demonstration sites showing how soils are sampled, how adaptive rotational grazing is practiced, and monitoring needs. 150 people, primarily ranchers, registered for the event and more than 100 people attended -- making this the best-attended CCRC meeting in history.
I began my research by talking to ranchers, and I used this as a way to end my dissertation work by also talking to ranchers.
I spent the first 3 years of my PhD work networking and building community with ranchers in California. For too long, academics have neglected the needs, realities, and local ecological knowledge of farmers and ranchers, creating distrust. I do my best to involve ranchers throughout the research process: beginning by understanding their operations and contexts, incorporating their observations and questions, and communicating back my findings. Throughout my dissertation work, I worked with groups of ranchers to do just that. In addition to building my research around their questions and sampling on their working ranches, I am also publishing a paper centering their voices and quotes to highlight the importance of their experiences.